She was sitting in the activity room of the nursing home, laying back in her wheelchair. Her shoulders slant to the left, her head hangs slightly forward. Most of her teeth are missing and her face is covered with wrinkles. Her hair was not fixed and her clothes were uncomfortably bunched up around her. She and the others in the room had no visitors at the time. The television was tuned to the morning game show channel but no one seemed to be watching. They were just….. there.
We stopped by to visit another lady who had been in the nursing home for the past few years. After spending some time with her we looked around the room to see if anyone else may be receptive to a visit and we walked over to the lady in the chair.
The first thing she did when we walked over to her was request a cup of water. I felt I was in no position to refuse, so I went after the water and my wife started talking with her. She told us her name is Eloise. We asked Mrs. Eloise how old she was but she couldn’t remember. She did tell us that she had 2 brothers, both of whom had died. Her parents were gone, too.
“There’s just me.” she said. “I have no one else.”
As we continued our visit, we discovered that, while she is very hard of hearing, she likes to sing. So my wife and I sang Christmas carols with her. As she sang she stared intently at my wife. I’m not sure if it was to follow the words of the song or if she saw the love in my wife’s face. Whatever it was, she enjoyed it and so did we.
Mrs. Eloise loved our 4 daughters and thought my wife looked like a teenager. She gave me strict orders to take care of them all and when it came time to leave, Mrs. Eloise asked us to come back and visit. She told us that she never has visitors, that no one comes to see her. She said she appreciated us stopping by.
You can learn a lot from a visit like that. You find how just by giving an hour of your day, you can brighten someone Else’s. You realize how important it is to be viewed as valuable. You see that there really are those very lonely people out there who say…
“There’s just me, I have no one else.”
What types of ways have you been reaching the lonely? How do you think you can?